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A Writerly Life: Wisdom from Cheryl Strayed


The Monsters and the Writers (Guest Post)

by Donald LaBranche

The first principle is this: when they walk through the door, take them seriously as writers.  Every decision I make will have to grow out of that ground. Purple hair, ukuleles, gothic jewelry and clothing, surly expressions on the face one day and sweet dispositions the next…take them seriously as writers. Whatever it is, writers are just like that.  

I’ve been teaching this Young Writers/Young Readers class (Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror) long enough so that I have a process that more or less stays the same. I ask myself the same questions every year. Whose fiction should I read so I can renew familiarity with classic stories? (Mary Shelley) Whose fiction is on the cutting edge of what is being written say, in the last 3-5 years? (Ann Leckie) Also, whose work about the craft of writing will benefit my students by learning and practicing what they have to say? Finally, I want to look at student work from the last couple of years in some detail to discern what it is they can do well and what I need to help them do better.

That’s it. That’s the plan as it looks in mid-April.  Read more

A Writerly Life: Wisdom from Aldous Huxley


From the Classroom: Everyone Needs a North Star

by Brian Kelley

Over 5000 years ago, the Phoenicians discovered that Polaris, or the Polar Star, is positioned so that the entire Northern sky revolves around it. A reliable piece of data, the Phoenicians guarded this secret as long as they could and dominated sea navigation. While most ships and trade routes hugged coastlines, the Phoenicians ventured further into regions no one else dared.

Polaris, or what we know today as the North Star, inspired confidence. And that confidence and knowledge encouraged the Phoenicians to be risk-takers on the sea.

This scenario strikes me a bit like education.  Read more

A Writerly Life: Wisdom from Zadie Smith


Tools of the Trade: Multimedia Posters and Charts

By Rita Sorrentino

Tools of the Trade: Multimedia Posters and Charts

Pick a letter from A to Z. Did you say C? Right. The letter C gives us many avenues for brainstorming the benefits of infusing technology into our teaching and learning environment: curiosity, connectivity, creativity, choice, communication, critical thinking, and collaboration. Good start. Oh, did someone just mention chaos and control?  Yes, technology can usher in a less-orderly classroom as the focus shifts from teacher-centered to student-centered activities with a wide range of information sources, productivity tools, and personalized on-demand learning.

There is a lot to consider when making decisions to transform teaching and learning with technology that encourages students to ask questions and find problems in need of solutions. With the colossal amount of information available today, our students still need strategies to guide their learning, skills to evaluate sources of information and choices to demonstrate how to construct and curate their digital products. Pedagogy still matters as we strive to successfully infuse technology into our teaching and learning environments.  Read more